What Is an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are illnesses characterized by disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors. These often include symptoms such as obsessing over foods, body weight, and shape. Someone has an eating disorder when their eating, exercising, and body weight or shape become an unhealthy preoccupation in their life.
Types of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders cause serious emotional and physical problems. Each condition comes with different signs and symptoms that make them unique from each other.
Binge Eating Disorders (BED)
Treating Eating Disorders
While there aren’t currently any cures for eating disorders, they can be managed using different treatment options. Treatments will vary depending on the severity and the type of disorder but often include:
- Psychotherapy, including behavioral therapy, focuses on coping mechanisms
- Medicines, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to address co-occurring mental health disorders
- Nutritional counseling with weight restoration monitoring to better the relationship between food and weight
- Family-based therapy to promote healthy eating patterns and increase support within the family unit
Eating Disorders and Addiction
Many people with eating disorders also struggle with a co-occurring substance use disorder. The use of illicit drugs like cocaine, alcohol, and hallucinogens is a popular method for coping with the symptoms of eating disorders. In addition, because many of these substances can curb appetite, they’re often abused to maintain unhealthy eating habits and weight.
Dealing with addiction and eating disorders can be dangerous as it may lead to malnutrition, medical consequences, and potentially death. When these conditions co-occur, it’s essential to seek comprehensive treatment programs that address both conditions simultaneously.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an eating disorder, please reach out for help ASAP. Early intervention is critical for long-lasting recovery. Contact a treatment provider today and start your journey to recovery.
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